Hiring an In-House Mechanic?

If you’re contemplating hiring an in-house mechanic, you already know the decision is not an easy one. So many factors go into it that it often paralyzes the owner from making a decision.

While there is no magic number that fits every tree service perfectly, we typically do not see companies hiring a full-time mechanic until they have at least…

10 vehicles. That does not include trailers and mobile equipment, although definitely factors into the workload of the mechanic. 

So, how do you determine if your company is ready to hire a full time mechanic? Ask yourself and your leadership team these questions to guide your decision making. 

Future of Your Fleet 

This is often the starting point for deciding whether or not to hire a full-time mechanic. Depending on where you see the size of your company and fleet going in the future should determine when to hire an in-house mechanic. 

  • Do you plan on growing your company and adding more vehicles or equipment? 
  • Are you planning on getting more tech-heavy vehicles or equipment? 
  • Would your production crews become more efficient with newer vehicles or equipment?
  • Are you considering using fleet management software? 

Current Cost of Repairs

Many tree services do not pay close attention to the cost of mechanical repairs, though knowing this or at the very least having an idea of the cost to your business for repairs can quickly justify the extra expense of an in-house mechanic. 

  • How much did you spend on vehicular repairs last year?
  • How much production downtime have you suffered from a vehicle or piece equipment that needed repairs? 
  • How many jobs did you lose because of an out-of-service vehicle or piece of equipment?
  • Could any of that downtime or lost jobs have been prevented with regular maintenance?

In-House Mechanic Logistics

Assessing whether or not your company has the capacity for an in-house mechanic is another important factor to consider.

  • Do you have enough physical space for a mechanic to operate fully within your current shop?
  • What additional tools (hand tools, diagnostic tools, lifts, etc.) are needed to allow the mechanic to perform the work needed?
  • Do you have the management team in place to support an in-house mechanic? 
  • Are you able to comply with the environmental regulations that come with operating a repair facility?

Additional Items to Consider

  • How are you currently ensuring compliance with your state and federal DOT? 
  • Do you currently have vehicles and or any specialized equipment that cannot be serviced by an in-house mechanic and need to be worked on by certified technicians?
  • Do you have a recruiting strategy set up to find the best mechanic possible? 
  • What employee benefits are you able to provide to the mechanic?

While these questions are by no means an exhaustive list of all that needs to factor into the decision making process, they will help you begin to answer the question for your tree care company. 

If you are struggling with this part of your business, contact an ArboRisk team member today to learn about how our Thrive program can help your business Become Extraordinary!

Written by: Eric Petersen